at the bodega

The clerk is a small Muslim woman with a sheer scarf tossed around her neck and covering her head. She likes my red stripes.

“How do you do it? I do my daughter’s with food coloring.” She sweeps her hands across her brow and then down by her shoulders. “Her bangs, and then the ends. Other daughter wants blue, green. I do whatever they want.”

I’m imagining these bright peacocks hidden under veils. “Do they wear scarves?”

“No, not at all. That is their choice. I teach them what I want to teach them, what I believe. They have their own brains. They have to choose, or not choose. I can’t force them.”

She leans forward over the counter, smiles a little. “My son, he wants green hair too.” She slides one finger across the counter, a division. “I say no. There is a line.”

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1 Response to “at the bodega”


  1. 1 Mark Reep October 21, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Your blog’s become a regular stop; catching up this morning on the last couple- Great, both. You do so much with so few strokes.


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